Best Drives Around Sydney: Royal National Park

One of Sydney’s best drives sits just south of Sutherland

royal national park sydney

The northern-most entry to Royal National Park is around 35 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD and can be easily accessed from the busy Princes Highway at Loftus.

This is a beautiful drive for a lazy afternoon, or, if you have the time, a weekend away.

Take the exit left off the highway and simply follow the signs to the Grand Pacific Drive and Royal National Park.

Stick to the speed limits as you approach the Royal National Park booth. If you’re going to stop in the park, you may be asked to pay a small fee.

Past the booth the road starts to wind down to the river, but be extra careful – we’ve seen police quite often in the bushes as the limit drops from 80km/h to 60.

You descend through sandstone outcrops to the weir. There are public toilets either side of the weir for those needing a rest stop.

royal national park signThere is a quaint café on the far side with a decent coffee available. You can have a light meal on the terrace that overlooks a grassy field on the edge of the creek.

It’s a magical spot on a spring afternoon.

If you press on, you’ll find little spots to stop for pictures. The little waterfall on the left a few k’s in is worth a stop.

There’s only enough parking for a few cars though, so take care.

As you sweep around to the left, you’ll see the Waterfall turnoff on the right. From here, the road gets very twisty.

There are no spots to overtake, so if you’re behind someone slow, you’re pretty much there until the end.

Under no circumstances be tempted to overtake. If someone is behind you, and you feel like taking it easy, why not pull over and let them pass.

royal national park rainforest

If you haven’t stopped by now, you’ll be passing through thick rain forest.

The road stays wet a long time after the rain stops, so take care.

The road is also known for trees coming down in wind, especially if the ground is saturated.

The last twist is a 15km/h hairpin, take note, many have come to grief here, especially on two wheels.

You exit the forest at the most magnificent lookout. You’re high above the Pacific Ocean and perched atop a sandstone cliff.

Funnily enough, large deposits of coal can be found in the area.

Early settlers saw it from boats.

Watch for the house on the right with the glass pool that projects from the terrace perched high on the hill.

The bluff nearby sees large manned kites launch into the abys. It’s worth stopping for a look.

sydney royal national parkTake a few shots, then head to the pretty little coastal towns for lunch over the dramatic Sea Cliff Bridge.

Like all great coastal roads, there are plenty of spots to stay if you don’t want to drive back to town.

If you venture a little further down the coast, historic Wollongong has plenty to see.

It is worth the effort, and a great day out, or perhaps a romantic secret weekend away.

Best Drives Around Sydney: Royal National Park

  • Round trip time – approx. 3 hours from Sydney CBD
  • Road Surface – Generally good and the tarmac was recently resurfaced in parts
  • Road types – Suburban, Highway, country roads
  • Skill Level – Intermediate

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